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At the heart of the Northern Ireland food industry




email: Volume 48, Number 10 November/December 2013



Page 10: GroceryAid Sunday Lunch – Over 120 guests attended and a great day was had by all as you will see from our pictures of the event.

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8 • Ulster Grocer | JANUARY 2011


PageS 12-21: Christmas Fayre – Tis the season to stock up. We look at key products to ensure a profitable Christmas this year. Wishing all our readers and advertisers a very busy and happy festive season.

PageS 24-43: Food Force Ireland – Read all about this year’s trade show and hear from the organisers and suppliers who took part in this hugely successful event.

PageS 45-53: Meat, Fish & Poultry – as well as comments from movers and shakers in the meat industry this new feature includes a special store focus on Great Taste award winners M&W Meats.

Page 61: Trade People – featuring Sandra Weir, Regional Buying Manager for Fresh Foods for Tesco Northern Ireland.


Ulster Grocer is published by Greer Publications 5B Edgewater Business Park, Belfast Harbour Estate, BELFAST BT3 9JQ Tel: 028 9078 3200 Fax: 028 9078 3210 Web:



Advertising Manager: Karen Graham E: Contributors: Samantha Livingstone, Laura Hyland and Brian McCalden Advertising Manager: Senior Accounts Manager: Michelle Kearney E: Art Editor: Catherine Mercer Deputy Art Editor: Karen Donnelly Production Manager: Stuart Gray Accounts: Gerardine Carson Publishers: James and Gladys Greer


Mauds ‘scoops’ top prize L

ife is ‘sweet’ for Mauds Ice Cream which has won a top Irish food prize and has revealed it had a record breaking summer thanks to a combination of sizzling sunshine, a re-brand and its reputation for delicious taste. The Carrickfergusbased independent business which has been making ice cream for more than 30 years ‘scooped’ top Mauds ice cream maker and pasteuriser, Ruth Pickering (left) whose career with prize in the prestigious Mauds began when she was secured a part-time job as a schoolgirl celebrates the local company’s tasty win with Jaden McMurtry. 6th Annual Blas na hEireann National Irish Food Awards for its ‘coolest’ flavour Poor Bear’s Delight. The 100% real dairy ice cream which contains homemade honeycomb left the opposition in ‘the cold’ and wowed more than 60 judges in blind taste tests with its creamy, crunchy mixture.’




inety-four per cent of consumers in Northern Ireland would say no to a 5p tax on reusable bags, according to independent poll results released this month. The vast majority of respondents (92 per cent) also said that they did not know about the new tax, which the Department of the Environment is proposing to implement in 2014. The poll, which was conducted during October and November by Lucid Talk for the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC), found that 77 per cent of consumers say that they do use reusable bags again, with half using them whenever they do their shopping. But 11 per cent said that the planned tax would cause them to switch back to single use bags, which have a much greater impact on the environment.


Marks & Spencer reward staff

Sacha Berendji, M&S Director of Retail (left) and M&S Plan A Ambassador, Joanna Lumley (back) are pictured presenting the M&S Abbeycentre store team with their award for the ‘Best Fundraising Team’ at the recent Pride of M&S Plan A Awards in London.

M&S Plan A Ambassador, Joanna Lumley (left) and Tanith Dodge, M&S HR Director (right) are pictured presenting Phyliss Buchanan from the M&S Junction One Outlet store with her award for the ‘Most Inspiring Volunteer’ at the recent Pride of M&S Plan A Awards in London.

M&S Plan A Ambassador, Joanna Lumley (left) and Sacha Berendji, M&S Director of Retail (right) are pictured presenting Siobhan Allister from the M&S Enniskillen store with her runner-up award in the ‘Best Individual Fundraiser’ category at the recent Pride of M&S Plan A Awards in London.

Dale Farm to supply Lidl with own brand Cheddar L eading dairy business, Dale Farm, has won a major European export contract with retailer Lidl to supply all ‘own-label’ cheddar for the supermarket’s ‘Valley Spire’ and ‘Simply’ brands. Dale Farm, who already supply cheese to Lidl, will now supply a range of cheddar cheese products to over 750 Lidl stores in the UK and Ireland as well as supplying a further 1,800 stores across ten European countries. David Dobbin, Dale Farm Group Chief Executive said: “Over the last three years, we have invested over £40m in developing worldclass manufacturing facilities. As a result, our cheese manufacturing

capacity at our Dunmanbridge site in Cookstown has doubled to over 50,000 tonnes per year. We now have best in class cheese making and packing capability and the economies of scale needed to successfully compete internationally; winning this Lidl business is confirmation of the progress we are making.” He continued: “Securing contracts such as this ensures the continued growth of our business and is great news for the 1,600 local dairy farmers who supply us with high quality milk. We look forward to developing our relationship with Lidl for many years to come.”

Serious PR become first PR agency to win Tesco Award

Agri-food success at 2013 CIM Marketing Excellence Awards

Tesco NI Marketing Manager, Caoimhe Mannion (centre) presents the Tesco Outstanding Supplier of the Month award to David McCavery (founder and MD of Serious PR) and Vicki Caddy (Account Director, Serious PR).

Seona McGrath (Morrow Communications), Michael McKillop (Glens of Antrim Potatoes) and Harriet Turtle (Morrow Communications) are pictured receiving their award from Rajesh Rana, Director of Andras House Hotel Group.



Cooking up a storm at the launch of IFEX 2014 S

et to be home to thousands of visitors, hundreds of exhibitors and Northern Ireland’s hottest young culinarians, IFEX 2014 has just been officially launched by Salon Culinaire Director, Sean Owens and multiple IFEX gold medal winner, Brendan Baxter. Ahead of the event, stakeholders from the food, retail and hospitality sectors attended the launch to hear about the exciting plans that are in place for Northern Ireland’s biggest hospitality and catering biennial event. Now under the new ownership of Fresh Montgomery – the exhibition organisers behind IFE, Hotelympia and The Hospitality Show – IFEX is taking place from the 11–13 March at the King’s Hall Complex. Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director of IFEX, comments: “Ownership of IFEX has come full circle as our parent company, Montgomery Exhibitions, founded the event in Northern Ireland over 20 years ago. We’re thrilled that the show is back in our hands and it’s exciting for us to be involved in an event.” Central to the show is the Salon Culinaire, which includes of the ChefSkills Theatre and La Parade des Chefs. This is the platform where many of Northern Ireland’s most notable chefs – including Michael Deane, Alex Taylor, Chris Bell and Roisin Gavin – were

Pictured are Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director Brendan Baxter; former IFEX gold medal winner and Head Chef at Fusion; and Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, IFEX.

first recognised within the industry. IFEX gold medallist, Brendan Baxter from Warrenpoint is now Head Chef at Fusion Restaurant, aged just 21. Proprietor of Gardiner’s Restaurant in Magherafelt, Head of Food Operations for the Downey Group in Belfast and longstanding Salon Culinaire Director, Sean Owens adds: “ChefSkills at IFEX is one of the most-respected culinary competitions in the UK. Over the years, judges from both the UK and Ireland have witnessed the quality

of our culinary students and the winners of ChefSkills are the stars of the future.” It’s expected that over 100 exhibitors will showcase thousands of new products and services. Almost 70% of show space is already secured by many big name Northern Ireland companies including Hendersons Foodservice, Masseys for Catering Equipment, Lynas Foodservice and Golden Glen Catering. Show partners include the Department of Employment and Learning, Stephen’s Catering and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Marfrig announces changes within the Moy Park organisation M

oy Park’s parent company, Marfrig has announced the start of a planned transition and change of roles and responsibilities within the Moy Park Leadership Team in Europe, following Moy Park CEO Nigel Dunlop’s decision to retire from the business. After six years as CEO of Moy Park and following 33 years in the consumer goods sector, Nigel Dunlop (inset) has decided, in line with his own long term retirement plans, to step down as CEO and retire at the end of this year. Since joining Moy Park in 2008, Nigel has played a pivotal role in the complete reorganisation and turnaround of the business. Moy Park has since achieved record levels of profitability and has almost doubled in size during this period. Moy Park recently became fully responsible for Marfrig’s entire European business. Starting on January 1st 2014, Janet McCollum (pictured), currently Moy Park Group Finance Director, will take over the role of CEO Moy Park. Janet has had a long and successful career with Moy Park and more recently has played a key role in the comprehensive turnaround of the Moy Park business leading to significantly increased sales, profitability and cash. Marcos Antonio Molina dos Santos, CEO and Chairman of Marfrig Group, said: “I would like to express my sincere and warmest thanks to Nigel for his personal contribution to the success of Moy Park and for his support to the wider Marfrig Group during his time with the Company”. “I would also like to congratulate Janet on her appointment as CEO Moy Park and wish her every success in the new role. Between now and the end of the year Nigel will work closely with Janet to ensure a smooth and effective transition for the business.” 6

Nuprint Technologies Londonderry

Suki Tea, Belfast

“ We’ve combined technology with tradition and now get 20 per cent of our orders online.” Tea making and blending is an age-old ceremony and local company Suki Tea, has stayed true to time-honoured techniques. However, when it comes to the company website, owners Annie Rooney and Oscar Woolly explain how Invest Northern Ireland helped them embrace new technology, while staying true to their traditional values.

got our message out there without the need to advertise. We even recently secured a new contract in Japan via Facebook.”

“Most loose leaf tea is bought online and our website was pretty basic. That’s where Invest NI came in. The website upgrade was very painless, smooth and quick. After a year, online sales had risen from 6 per cent of our business to 20 per cent.

By taking positive action now, businesses can overcome challenges and succeed in these difficult times, as Annie and Oscar have shown:

“Now, we get online orders from all over the world. Between the new website, Twitter and Facebook we’ve

Invest NI’s Boosting Business campaign has been developed to increase awareness of the support available to help companies identify exporting, technology, skills and research and development support and to create jobs.

“Invest NI is helping us stay ahead of the game. We would definitely recommend that companies out there tap into their resources. They pointed us in the right direction.”

Find out how Invest NI can help you boost your business:

Call 0800 181 4422 Text BOOST to 78886 Visit 200840 INI BB Suki Tea FP-UGrocer.indd 1

31/10/2013 09:55


Annaghmore Mushrooms is growing



Celebrating the opening of Annaghmore Mushrooms new premises and £1m investment are (from left) Eamon Murray (Managing Director, Annaghmore Mushrooms), Jelena Milos (Director, AnnaghmoreMushrooms) and David Small (Deputy Secretary, DARD) who officially opened the facilities.


urgan-based Annaghmore Mushrooms unveiled its state-of-the-art premises as part of a £1m investment in the business. With demand for locally produced mushrooms spiralling, the independent family-owned business has recently increased staff numbers from six to sixteen and plans to grow that number by a further ten. The County Armagh facility, which was founded by mushroom grower Eamon Murray in 2006, markets and distributes top quality locally grown mushrooms throughout the UK and Ireland. In response to this demand, the company has invested more than £700,000 into new technologies and quality processes to improve its cold chain supply – the most important element of which is a high tech pack-house which has an advanced cooling system to keep the product fully chilled within an hour of picking. The company investment was supported by grant assistance of £286,000 by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the EU Processing & Marketing Grant Scheme. Annaghmore received additional support from Invest NI.

FOSTER CELEBRATES LOCAL COMPANIES SUCCESS AT GREAT TASTE AWARDS: Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured at Culloden Hotel where she celebrated the success of 65 Northern Ireland companies who won around 250 gold star awards at the Great Taste Food Awards. The Minister is pictured with (l-r) Simon Dougan, Yellow Door Deli Ltd, Portadown, who won the Deli and Farm Shop Signature Dish Award; Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats, Moira, who won Best speciality product from Northern Ireland award and Paul Clarke, En Place Foods, Cookstown, who won Best Ambient Product Award.


he Dairy Council for Northern Ireland last month confirmed that it will not renew its title sponsorship of The Milk Cup tournament. The decision follows a strategic review of the Dairy Council’s activities in Northern Ireland. Chief Executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, Dr Mike Johnston, said: “This was not an easy decision for us, but no sponsorship is permanent. The Milk Cup has been a hugely important and successful sponsorship for the Dairy Council since we became involved 30 years ago, but the market has evolved, and we need to ensure that our activities meet the needs of the Northern Ireland dairy industry. Dr Johnston continued: “The Dairy Council firmly remains committed to promoting milk. We have a three year programme in place through the European Milk Forum, and supported by 50% funding from the EU, to communicate the nutrient richness of milk to mothers of teenagers. And in addition we have just appointed a Sports Nutritionist who will be going into post primary schools throughout Northern Ireland to tell teenagers about the importance of milk for sport and a healthy, active lifestyle.” In wishing the Northern Ireland Youth Soccer Tournament every success in the future, Dr Johnston, added: “At a time when Northern Ireland was in the grip of a dark period in its history, and amidst negative publicity in international media, it will always be a testament to the Tournament that teams from all over the world were prepared to come to Northern Ireland. And over the years, not only have local players benefited from The Milk Cup experience, but also many friendships have been established and have endured. In other words, the legacy of The Milk Cup will live on.”

GROCERY perspective AID

Sunday Lunch in aid of O

ver 120 guests attended the annual GroceryAid Sunday Lunch at Deane’s at Queens, Belfast. This year’s event had special significance, as it paid tribute to the outstanding dedication, shown by the late John Barrett, as a member of the Northern Ireland fundraising committee for over twenty years. Chairman Cliff Kells gave an emotional homage to John, who passed away in October this year. Martin Agnew, Judith Agnew, Alan Fitzsimmons and Chris Fitzsimmons.

Arlene and Mark Hewitt, Paul and Rhonda Barbour, Keith Hassard and Susanna Lloyd.

Michael and Hannah Downey, SuperValu; Trevor and Kerry Magill, Musgrave and Bronagh Luke, Henderson’s.

James and Gladys Greer, Joan Barrett and Mandy Barrett.

Hanna Greer with David and Dorothy Lyttle.

Cliff Kells, Sandra Gowdy, Bernie Kells and Mark Gowdy.

Gerry Cassidy, Jude Cassidy and Mark Johnston.

Lynne Morrow and Philip Morrow, with PRM.

Michelle McNeill, Terry McNeill, Barry Smyth and Joyce Smyth.

Robin Howard, Joe Sloan, Joanne Allen, James Allen, Pat Sloan and Michael Howard, with SHS.

Bronagh Luke, Beverly Davidson, Sam Davidson, Lisa Marin, Paddy Doddy and Brenda Mulligan, Hendersons.

Joanna Richmond, Arthur Richmond, Des McCullough and Wilma McCullough, with SHS.

Stephen and Kim Gibson with Johnny and Aislinn Little.

8 • •Ulster 36410 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011


‘My Life in the Grocery Trade’ Featuring Briege Finnegan, Brand Marketing Manager, Moy Park. What is your current role? I currently hold the position of Brand Marketing Manager for Moy Park – Ireland’s number one poultry brand, top UK food company and one of Europe’s largest poultry producers. A brief outline of your employment history to date I have always had a passion for the world of business and marketing, however, my working career really began with Invest NI where I held the position of Marketing Executive on the Explorers Export Graduate Marketing Programme. During this time I was offered the chance to work in the NI Technology and Development Centre in Boston, which was a great opportunity to gain international business experience. Since then, I have worked in various posts over the last ten years – across a wide range of businesses to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. Now in my new position with Moy Park, I am looking forward to continuing to build the Moy Park brand of chicken products and strengthening Moy Park’s reputation as a leading food company focused on innovation and quality. What does your role involve? Moy Park supplies leading supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the UK and Ireland with a range of high-quality retailer own brand and Moy Park branded chicken products including breaded and fresh chicken and a range of ready-tocook chicken products. I am responsible for ensuring that my team and I identify opportunities to develop and implement a wide range of marketing strategies to support Moy Park and the Moy Park brand. We work closely with various other teams and departments across the company to ensure that we are all aligned and working to meet the objectives of the business. When did you take up this post? I joined Moy Park in December 2012 and have had an action-packed year so far. As I approach my first anniversary with the company I am really looking forward to

and product launch activity to preparing presentations and marketing briefs for internal meetings. My team and I have also been incredibly busy this year preparing for and participating in several consumer shows including the Balmoral Show, Taste of Dublin, Tesco Taste NI and the recent Food and Drink Show NI. Each event provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the quality of the Moy Park brand’s product portfolio. It also gives visitors the chance to meet our team of expert chefs, who are always on hand to give advice and top tips for cooking Moy Park chicken.

seeing what the next 12 months – and indeed the future – brings.

What has been the proudest moment of your career to date? It would have to be working on CSR partnerships. In my previous role as Super Valu Marketing Manager, I was responsible for overseeing and managing the brand’s primary sponsorship of Action Cancer’s Big Bus. The Big Bus provides mobile screening and health promotion services and has helped to save many lives with early detection. The fundraising initiatives implemented by Super Valu and its independent retailers helped pay for the annual running cost of the Big Bus.

What are the best/worst parts of your job? Every job comes with its own challenges and opportunities and this is certainly true in a sector which is as fast-paced and everchanging as this one! However, I am a firm believer that every experience should form part of your life-long learning process and I relish this aspect of my job as it means that no two days are the same.

What is the best thing about being involved with the local retail industry? The local agri-food sector and retail industry is vital to the Northern Ireland economy. I take great pride in knowing that I have a part to play in this vibrant sector and that in a small way I am helping to secure local employment and the long-term sustainability of the entire supply chain.

Give us a brief outline of what a typical day involves The very nature of the industry means that my job is not restricted to 9am-5pm and on any given day my plans can fluctuate on a minute-by-minute basis. One day I could be out and about meeting with our advertising, design and PR teams to ensure that our brand plans are running effectively, efficiently and to budget. The next I could be working closely with my colleagues across the business on a variety of activities – from NPD projects

What do you like to do to unwind away from work? There is nothing I like to do more than to escape to my beautiful home town of Ballycastle on the North Coast to spend quality time with my family and friends. Tell us something about yourself that not many people may know? Some people might not know but I am a big child at heart – I love rollercoasters and theme parks!



Have you got


all wrapped up yet? T

is the season to stock up... and to make sure you have all the right products on your shelves for your customers to buy. And there are plenty of cracking products out there... perfect for ensuring you are the number one stop for all your customers festive needs. With Christmas falling on a Wednesday, planning and preparation is set to be key ahead of two massive weekend sales periods either side of the big day. Suppliers are warning that if you don’t mechanise correctly then, you could miss out on potential sales during this busy time. Suppliers and producers have also packaged up some fantastic deals that will appeal to consumers this Christmas – from limited edition products, new festive favours, stocking filler essentials and magical prices. Over the next few pages, Ulster Grocer brings you information on these key products and gives advice on how to ensure this is very profitable festive season. On behalf of the team at Ulster Grocer, we would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous Christmas and New Year.

Festive season presents major opportunity for retailers


ccording to AG Barr “29% more carbonates are sold in the eight weeks leading up to Christmas[1] which represents a significant profit opportunity for retailers,” comments Adrian Troy, Head of Marketing at AG Barr. As part of its Christmas support package, IRN-BRU will be running heavyweight digital and social media activity throughout December as well as seasonal pack graphics featuring the popular Snowman character. “IRN-BRU’s Christmas activity brings with it a festive feel good factor for shoppers,” says Troy. “Retailers should stock up to make sure they’re part of this profit opportunity.” “Our advice to retailers is clear. Stock the leading brands your customers want, merchandise them effectively and you’ll enjoy a bumper Christmas.” concludes Troy. [1] Nielsen Scantrack, Value Sales, Total Carbonates, 4wks ending 24.12.12 vs winter average, Total UK Coverage

SHS Drinks sees a WKD Christmas ahead “W

KD is all about sharing good times with friends so it’s always a big seller over the festive period,” says Debs Carter, marketing director for WKD, Northern Ireland’s no.1 RTD brand[1]. To generate festive sales, SHS Drinks, owner of WKD, suggests the following top tips: 1. Keep the leading brands well stocked up. Out of stocks equals lost sales. 2. Focus on large bottle sizes and multipacks to build consumer value and increase basket spend. 3. Give the big sellers plenty of chiller space. Research shows that that 26% of WKD consumers will take their purchases elsewhere if a shop doesn’t have their favourite RTD available pre-chilled[2] . Chilling is the key dimension by which independents can out-manoeuvre supermarkets, especially around Christmas. “To make the most of the festive rush, in terms of stock availability and shelffilling, retailers should treat every night like a Saturday night and be on their game to ensure that product is continually available,” advises Carter. “With 25th December falling on a Wednesday this year, retailers should also expect particularly bumper weekends either side of Christmas Day. Another way local retailers can increase seasonal sales is via the emergence in popularity of using RTDs in cocktails, believes SHS Drinks. This trend is good news for retailers as it provides the opportunity to generate incremental sales from the spirits and mixers used to make the RTD cocktails. Source: Nielsen Scantrack NI Take Home RTD volume (L) & value (£) share MAT to 14.09.13



Source: Beverage Brands consumer research, 2011



Tayto has Christmas all wrapped up A

s the party season takes off, we’ll all be stocking up on snacks and crisps to share with friends and family – and what’s better than a big sharing bag from our local hero, Tayto? Well, what’s even better is that by choosing sharing bags of Northern Ireland’s favourite crisps, customers are also helping to share a little bit of love with a fantastic cause close to home. It’s called Share & Care and this year it is supporting Marie Curie. Through the campaign, the big-hearted people at Tayto donate 5p from the sale of every sharing bag of crisps and snacks to the charity. Last year’s drive raised a staggering £110,000 for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children’s MRI Scanner Appeal. So far this year, over £70,000 has been raised for Marie Curie and it is hoped that peak Christmas sales will push the total over £100,000. Elly Hunter, Tayto Marketing Director said: “It gives us immense pride to see how the people of Northern Ireland get behind this campaign and how the 5p’s mount up to give a total which can deliver really important services at the most critical time. “As a company we have always been inspired by the work of Marie Curie and we are thrilled to be able to use our partnership to help raise awareness of their work and the need for funding. We are hoping that our Share & Care campaign will raise enough money to finance 7,000 hours of nursing care, which is delivered both in patient’s homes and in the Belfast Marie Curie centre. The work of these nurses goes on quietly and often at a time of deep despair, grief and need. Although their work is rarely celebrated, it never goes un-noticed by those whose lives are touched. We are especially happy to be able to use Northern Ireland’s love of Tayto to share what incredible work they do – and to be able to provide funding to ensure their work continues. “A huge thanks goes to our generous Tayto customers, stockists and staff for their support so far. This is a very worthwhile cause, which we are delighted to be able to help.” Look out for the Marie Curie Share & Care logos on sharing bags of Tayto Hand-Cooked Crisps, Rough Cuts, Tayto Cheese & Onion and Party Mix.

Tayto Gift Box – present the perfect present T

ayto has Christmas all wrapped up this year – the clever people in the Castle in Tandragee have come up with the perfect gift for the man (or woman) who has everything – a box of Northern Ireland’s favourite crisps, gift wrapped and ready to give! The special edition Christmas gift box contains 18 packets of Tayto’s top three flavours: six each of Cheese & Onion, Spring Onion and Smoky Bacon – yum! The box is also a perfect pressie for loved ones living overseas, as it is ready to post: simply pop the lucky recipient’s name and address on the label printed on the box, pay the postage and post it off (look out for those last posting deadlines for long-distance destinations – they’re sooner than you think!) You’ll be hard pressed to get something so unique (or more popular when it’s opened on Christmas morning!) Available across the retail trade and priced at RSP £3.50, what better gift can you give than the iconic taste of home: Tayto crisps! And for those whose budget stretches a little further than £3.50, did you know that Tayto will post whole boxes of all your favourite flavours of Tayto crisps anywhere in the world via their online shop, any time of the year: visit for all the information.

Honey Roast Ham I

t’s become a bit of a ritual in the Ulster Grocer office at this time of year when we wait excitedly to find out what Tayto’s special limited edition flavour will be. We didn’t think they could top last year’s Cheeky Chilli (which we had stashed in work drawers to keep them safe well into the new year!). For 2014, we can finally reveal that it’s this delish Honey Roast Ham. Yes, we’re salivating! These crisps have all the appeal of a hot juicy roast, with none of the hassle – certainly enough to keep us going until the Big Day itself! Price marked at £1, Tayto Honey Roast Ham are on sale now for a limited time only – time to stock up!


Tayto Festive multipacks are now available and the assorted pack now includes Tayto’s Number Two best-selling flavour: Spring Onion


Irwins bring Freshly Baked to the table I

rwin’s, Northern Ireland’s only indigenous plant bakery has developed a range of locally produced, hand crafted Irish ‘Table Breads’ exclusively for Tesco NI. The Irwin’s ‘Freshly Baked’ table bread range, which is available to consumers from a self service bakery table in store, brings together a selection of wheaten, fruit and crusty breads including a Baked Wheaten & Date bread, a Baked Cinnamon & Raisin Soda, a Baked Tea Loaf with a sugary top and iconic Belfast Baps. Irwin’s are proud to be celebrating over 100 years baking bread for families in Northern Ireland, since 1912. With a heritage and reputation for producing authentic Irish breads made with traditional recipes and techniques, there was a natural partnership with Tesco NI to create this range of artisan breads for local consumers. The unique ‘table bread’ bakery table evokes a local home bakery feeling where consumers can hand select their favourite traditional breads. The freshly baked range includes the world famous ‘Belfast Baps’ which are proving extremely popular selling over 2,000 a week, as well as ‘weekend specials,’ which encourage consumers to trial a new variety of much loved breads such as a traditional Veda bread with sultanas and a wheaten bread with dates. This project has proved to be very successful over the two year period with ten new stores coming on board this month, now a total of 25 stores featuring the ‘Table Breads’.



Diageo announce new Belgian Chocolate liqueur D iageo has launched one of its most innovative products for a decade with the arrival of Baileys Chocolat Luxe. The groundbreaking drink will be the first time that real Belgian chocolate has been fused with alcohol in a way that delivers the multisensory experience of chocolate in a glass. Created by Anthony Wilson, principal scientist and son of one of Baileys Original Irish Cream’s creators Steve Wilson, this latest innovation in drinks alchemy has been three years in the making. Travelling across three continents, Wilson was able to realise his vision

that Baileys and real Belgian chocolate would be the perfect pairing. Working with a world-class chocolatier and his team of leading scientists, Wilson personally tasted over 200 varieties of the world’s finest chocolate – eventually choosing to create a bespoke chocolate that would complement the drink and result in the ultimate molten chocolate drinking experience. It was the smallest of changes that provided the momentous breakthrough after 839 failed attempts. Lowering the alcohol content by just 1.3%, the flavour of the whiskey finally complemented, rather than overpowered the sweet, smoky essence of the chocolate. Anthony Wilson said of his creation: “The philosophy behind developing Baileys Chocolat Luxe was to create an ambient molten chocolate experience – something that you could pour and drink at room temperature that would have the multi-sensory experience of eating chocolate. This is combining two ingredients that were always destined to be together.

“Baileys was the first liqueur to fuse whiskey and cream, and now Baileys Chocolat Luxe heralds a groundbreaking innovation in chocolate – the first time real Belgian chocolate has been fused with alcohol to deliver a real Belgian chocolate experience. I am proud to be the one to say I helped make this happen and that the family legacy with Baileys continues with a brand new innovative product.” Colin Green, Innovation Commerialisation Manager for Diageo Ireland has put his stamp of approval on the new product: “These are exciting times for the brand – what has been created with Baileys Chocolat Luxe is not only a great tasting drink; it is a real quality chocolate experience.” Combining luxury products – including Madagascan vanilla and over 30g of real Belgian chocolate per bottle – the unashamed indulgence of Baileys Chocolat Luxe is a breakthrough in drinks alchemy and is in direct correlation to the brand’s original innovation over 37 years ago by Wilson’s father.


his year, Primacy Meats’ own home-farmreared turkeys will be available to order from its butchers’ counters in five Tesco stores. They have chosen to rear turkey breeds known for their succulence and great flavour. Customers can choose a traditional whole bird from 10lb right up to 25lb, or the Primacy butchers can prepare a boned and stuffed bird, a boneless roast or a turkey crown. Primacy counters are in Tesco Bloomfield Bangor, Castlereagh Road, Lisburn Bentrim, Craigavon and Portadown. The butchers will also be happy to advise on cooking and preparing your bird and the counters will have all the trimmings including sausages, streaky bacon, stuffings, gammon and ox tongue as well as a whole range of other locally-reared roasting joints for Boxing Day.

Tackling violence and aggression over the Festive season


hristmas is a time for partying, but it is also a time where finances are under strain, alcohol flows, tempers flare and queues in stores get longer. Bearing the brunt of this festive aggravation is the nation’s customer facing employees. One in five people at work are attacked or abused every year, just for doing their jobs and more than three million working days are lost due to violent incidents at work from both customers and colleagues. At a time when the retail and hospitality industries increase the number of temporary staff, the potential for escalation due to inexperience also rises. Employers have a duty of care to help prevent aggression at work, to upskill their people to respond effectively and to be able to calm potentially violent situations. Helping organisations to do this is Upskill People, a leading provider of online learning which has launched a new online course titled Violence and Aggression at Work. The course provides examples of incidents that might happen at work, from the point of view of stressed and disgruntled colleagues, and what to do when confronted by drunk, irate or violent customers. It provides practical role play examples and quizzes to ensure that 16

participants have understood the training and gets them to think about the best way to react in confrontational situations. Available 24/7 the courses are highly engaging and interactive so learners can put skills immediately into practice. With smart reporting, managers and supervisors can instantly see the progress made by members of their team, demonstrate compliance, and provide additional support if required. According to the Health and Safety Executive, violence can lead to poor morale and a poor image for the organisation making it difficult to recruit and keep staff. It can also mean extra cost, with absenteeism, higher insurance premiums and compensation payments. Employers are required to carry out a Workplace Risk Assessment, which includes assessing the risk of violence, but while identification is good, prevention is far better. The Upskill People Violence and Aggression at Work course enables employees to practice how they respond to potential situations in a safe and secure virtual environment so they will be prepared should a situation arise. For more information visit

Let the delicious new Dale Farm Fresh Custard pour profits into your business. Made using locally sourced milk, make sure you stock up now for a seriously tasty return.

Enjoy what’s good

in lif e - fr om D

ale F arm



Boost launches new 49p price-marked can L

eading energy drinks brand Boost has launched a limited edition 49p PMP on its 250ml Boost Energy can in all five variants – Original, Sugar Free, Cola, Citrus and Orange & Mango. The promotion is designed to further drive sales and offer an even greater value price to consumers while maintaining a great profit margin for retailers and wholesalers, like all the products in the Boost range. Boost’s Founder and Managing Director, Simon Gray, explained: “This is a limited edition PMP promotion designed to drive sales on the run up to Christmas and into the New Year. The Boost Energy 250ml can is one of our best-selling products already, so we are confident that this will be a successful tactic for the independent retail sector.” The promotional PMP is timed to coincide with the new Champion of Independents campaign from Boost, which is designed to raise awareness that Boost is the only brand to be totally focused on the independent retail sector. The campaign includes in-depot displays, direct communications with retailers and other promotional items. As well as being the only brand totally focused on the independent retail sector, Boost is also the only brand that covers all three sectors of energy drinks – stimulation energy, glucose and sports/ isotonic with a product portfolio of both pricemarked and plain packs to suit retailers’ needs. Simon concluded: “As a champion of the independents, price-marking forms a major part of Boost’s business and marketing strategy and will continue to do so, with a number of new developments planned for next year. Our aim is to price our products at a point which offers the consumer great value for money to drive sales and increase brand loyalty, whilst at the same time ensuring great profit margins for retailers.” For more information please call Boost Drinks on 01132 403666.

Price is right with Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands W


ith consumers continuing to be cash-conscious, it is more important than ever for you to offer value-for-money. However, value doesn’t always mean the cheapest option. It is more about offering shoppers a visible fair price for brands they know and trust. As one of the UK’s leading spirit companies, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands (BBFB), knows that a great way of offering value to your customers is by stocking Price-Marked-Packs (PMPs). Providing you with a trusted mechanic to communicate value to customers, PMPs can help assure your shoppers that they are getting clear value for money, with 86% of convenience shoppers saying they would trust an item price-marked by the manufacturer. In fact, research shows that nearly half of shoppers would be more likely to buy a product if it were price-marked, demonstrating how PMPs can boost profits via an increased rate of sale. Within the alcohol category the biggest driver of value sales is currently coming from the spirits segment, which is worth over £3.6bn and accounts for over a quarter of all sales. However, with 36% of shoppers preferring not to purchase spirits from convenience stores, instead buying these items during their main shop, and 55% citing price as their main purchase barrier, it’s essential to get your range and merchandising right in order to drive sales. With a portfolio of leading spirit brands, BBFB offers PMPs on top-sellers such as BACARDI Superior Rum (35cl at £8.99, 50cl at £10.99 and 70cl at £14.49), Southern Comfort 70cl at £16.99 and the new price-marked Jack Daniel’s 35cl at £12.49, which is available ready for Christmas. For more advice on how to maximise spirit sales, visit BBFB’s dedicated convenience website Your Store found at




SPAR’s festive Conference H

enderson Group, owners of the SPAR and EUROSPAR franchises in Northern Ireland recently held a festive conference for their retailers to guide them towards a successful and profitable festive season in the coming months, and to celebrate sales achievements from the past year. It was also a chance for retailers to get their first taste of the seasonal eating range, which is all sourced locally, including Christmas ?????????dinner favourites such as Cookstown sausages, turkey reared in Ballymena and the good old Brussel sprout, grown in Comber. This Christmas range was also put on show to give retailers the opportunity to see how this product is best displayed.  Retailers heard from senior directors from the Group including Paddy Doody, Sales and Marketing Director, who gave a brief business update on the past successful year for SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO brand retailers in Northern Ireland. Brenda Mulligan, Brand Marketing Controller spoke of the challenges retailers would face over Christmas, and how certain consumer behaviour may affect sales. Also taking to the stage was Channel Sales Managers Sarah Halliday and Stephen Gibson, who showed retailers their successes of the past, and how they can build on this to provide even more positive sales for Christmas 2013. Healey Martin, Fresh Foods Development Manager also shared sales opportunities for the future, and what retailers must invest in to get the very best out of their staff and product for their customers. Bronagh Luke, Corporate Marketing Controller gave a round-up of all the retailers’ and their customers’ excellent contribution to charity over the past year, which included donations towards Tearfund, NICFC and NSPCC Childline. Finally retailers were addressed by Neal Kelly, Fresh Foods Director, who shared fantastic fresh food results with sales increasing throughout all meat, salads and other summer eating products throughout the past six months, while also introducing this year’s Christmas fresh flowers and plant pots. Paddy Doody described the conference as a great benefit and boost to the retailers; “The run up to Christmas is an essential trading time for our retailers. This conference is a chance to show them we are behind them, and helping them every step of the way to achieve great festive footfall and profits. “It is highly beneficial for all that we keep our retailers engaged and interested in all that is happening for SPAR and EUROSPAR.” 8 3620 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster


Edwards is the preferred pickle! T

here’s no doubt about it – Northern Ireland folk love their pickles! Edwards is available on the shelves of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Henderson’s SPAR, Musgrave Retail Partners, Nisa, Dunnes and independents. With over 100 years of brand heritage and a unique Northern Irish range at a competitive price, it’s not surprising that it’s the preferred pickle! Edwards range is pickled to Northern Irish tastes with a unique vinegar and range suited to satisfy our taste buds. With Christmas season festivities not too far around the corner make sure to stock up with the full Edwards range now! Silverskin Onions, Mixed Pickles, Picked Cauliflower and Sliced Beetroot. Not to forget out Silverskin Cocktail Onions, ideal on cocktail sticks accompanied with cheese for those evening party snacks! Check our website for some warming winter dishes to cook with your pickles! For more information please contact Robert Roberts on tel: 028 9267 3316 or


WANNA DRIVE SALES? STOCK UP ON ANCHORMAN 2 PACKS f o d n i k They’re deal! a big

Proudly Sponsoring Food Force

spirited success

“We are firm supporters of the work carried out by Food Force Ireland and can really see the value it brings to our business. Its annual event presents a fantastic opportunity to protect and enhance our future business growth.” Colin Conway, Newell Stores, Coalisland and Dungannon

“FFI organised a great day. Lots of local suppliers with vast ranges of products on show; a great opportunity to be reminded of those we already knew about and to see exciting new products and meet new suppliers.” Alison Strong, JD Hunter & Co Supermarket, Markethill

“We are strong supporters of the annual Food Force Ireland event. This event provides an unparalleled opportunity to network with current and new suppliers, allowing me to build upon relationships and forge new ones. I look forward to a continued prosperous partnership with Food Force Ireland in 2014.”

“Once again we were given the wonderful opportunity to meet with suppliers old and new at the very successful Food Force Ireland event held recently in the Culloden. This has become a “not to be missed event” in our yearly calendar and affords us the chance to build very positive and successful relationships with our suppliers. The partnership with Food Force has proven to be a very successful one – one which delivers year on year. We look forward with confidence to another prosperous trading year with Food Force in 2014. Thank you.” Wilbur and Evelyn McLean, McLeans Country Foodstore, Omagh

Jonathan Crawford, Crawfords, Maghera

“Food Force Ireland plays a vital role in our business success. I believe that the unity that FFI creates, sets us apart from the competition. The annual event is a mustattend for us and I think that it allows us as independent traders to come together and show our strength as a Group to suppliers; resulting in us achieving the best trading terms for our business both individually and as a whole.” Gavin Emerson, Emersons Supermarket, Armagh

“The FFI trade show was an excellent day and it was great to meet all the suppliers in one room in an afternoon to discuss plans for future promotions.” Paddy Toner, Toner’s Supermarkets, Mid Ulster


Food Force Ireland Trade Event hat-trick – as it continues to build on its success Food Force Ireland chairman, Henry Emerson of Emerson’s Supermarket in Armagh, launched the third supplier trade day at the Culloden Hotel last month, which once again proved to be huge success for all involved.

Debra Johnston, Trading Controller and Henry Emerson, Chairman of Food Force Ireland


’m delighted with the response and support from suppliers – it’s a reflection of the close working relationship upon which all the Food Force member businesses are built,” he said. “I take great pleasure in seeing the Food Force alliance enable retailers to compete more effectively through the development of strong and lasting trading partnerships with the supply chain. We work closely with NISA and complement the offering of the UK’s leading member-owned organisation. FFI provides buying power, marketing and long-term trading agreements which enable its members to provide consumers with relevant and unique offerings.” Membership ranges from some of Northern Ireland’s largest independent supermarkets to many of its biggest forecourts and has grown from around 20 retailers to 56, operating a total of 100 stores. Rowan Black, FFI Company Secretary added: “FFI trading agreements provide very significant income for our members and, unlike other wholesale groups; every penny earned by the group is proportionately paid back to

the members. I would encourage other forward-thinking, innovative retailers to consider joining Food Force Ireland. As members we have the total freedom to run our businesses as we see fit, but with all the business-building support of a symbol group.’ Reinforcing these words of encouragement is Debra Johnston, Trading Controller at Food Force Ireland who adds: “We are thrilled at the success of our third and largest trade show to date and the resounding support and praise coming through from all attendees. We have 52 suppliers displaying products and offering unique one off deals for the day offering huge opportunities for both parties. “Food Force Ireland is a retailer-owned company, working on behalf of members to maximise trading terms and provide promotional activity from local suppliers. We provide buying-power, marketing and long-term trading agreements which enables our members to meet customer needs and provide consumers with excellent and unique offerings appropriate to their region. “Like never before it is more important for us to work even closer with suppliers and our members, in order to achieve the best trading partnerships. The consumer is more price conscious than ever and this new mindset of the consumer, as a result of the recession, is here to stay. Therefore it is more imperative than ever that we keep building upon our supplier relationships, forming new ones and developing the proposition our members can offer shoppers. “Suppliers that work with FFI are numerous and include all the usual large producers such as the Kerry Group, Allied Bakeries, Premier Foods, Britvic NI, CocaCola, Dale Farm, PRM and SHS Sales and Marketing. Freshdays, our own label milk and bread offerings are supplied to members by Dale Farm and Allied Bakeries and Irwins are launching our new wheaten and wax wrap pan loaf next month. FFI is always keen to talk to new prospective suppliers to facilitate new business for both parties. Read on over the next few pages to find out the thoughts of some of the suppliers and members who took part.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Dohertys proudly support third FFI event


roudly supporting the third Food Force Ireland trade event was Dohertys, a long established business now run by the sixth generation of the Doherty family. Originally in retail butchery the company has developed into one of Northern Ireland’s leading producers of meat products with a long tradition in chilled and frozen manufacturing. Produced in a modern processing factory accredited to BRC Grade A, Dohertys products, both traditional and gluten free, are popular with consumers throughout Northern Ireland, northwest of the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. Unique recipes, in the family for over 100 years, and a strict attention to quality of ingredients and processing systems has enabled the Doherty brand to survive and prosper in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Point Four debut at Food Force Ireland M

aking its first appearance Pictured are James Widdowson (Point Four) and Paula Toner (Nisa). at this year’s Food Force Trade Exhibition was the perfect opportunity for Point Four to exhibit its omni-channel portfolio of products, including Self Service Checkouts, Integrated eCommerce and Mobile POS Solutions. Point Four’s greatest success was the level of positive interest generated by its Hybrid Self Service Checkout and the fantastic response to its dedicated mission to deliver cutting edge technology and exceptional return on investment to the convenience sector. Its latest developments focused on maximised efficiency, simplicity of use and improved customer experience; solutions which enable retailers to deliver the highest levels of customer service, promoting loyalty and raising store profile within the community. A complete omni-channel provider offering In-Store EPoS, Forecourt Management, Multi-Site Management, Self Service and eCommerce; Point Four’s products, supporting services, flexible warranty periods and excellent ROIs offer the ideal choice for any c-store, news vendor or forecourt retailer. Contact 0844 811 8700 or visit for further information or to arrange a product demonstration.

Pictured are (l-r) Neil Gardiner, Gerry Cassidy, Malcolm Caughers, Paddy Toner and Paul Hill.

Kingsmill ‘out in force’ at FFI


ocal, fresh thinking bakery brand Kingsmill was among top food suppliers from across Ireland which recently attended the Food Force Ireland supplier trade day at the Culloden Hotel. Elva O’Connor, Kingsmill Brand Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been a part of this unique event once again this year. It presented us with an invaluable platform to engage with decision makers from all the member retailers and to showcase our product range. “We acknowledge Food Force Ireland is an essential entity in the retail sector and gives Kingsmill and other retailers alike the opportunity to come together and share industry expertise.” For more information on Kingsmill products check out facebook. com/kingsmill.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


GM Marketing, National Account Manager, Gary Martin and Sales & Marketing Co Coordinator, Steve McDonagh preview their innovative new sugar free range, Free’ist at the Food Force Ireland trade show.

Martin McConway from McColgans Quality Foods took the opportunity to highlight their new £1 range of individual pies, slices and sausage rolls. “The Food Force event is a great opportunity to showcase new product to the retailers and to discuss plans and opportunities for the year ahead.”

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


The Kerry Foods team at FFI 2013: (l-r) Patrick Donaghy from the Kerry Foods National Accounts Team; David Neill from the Kerry Foods National Accounts Team; Liz Dalton from FM Promotions and Alan Magill from the Kerry Foods Field Sales Team.

Kerry Foods delighted to support Food Force Ireland Trade Show P

aul Barbour, Commercial Manager for Kerry Foods Convenience Business in Ireland found the event extremely useful: “The Kerry Foods team find any opportunity to spend time with our customers beneficial.” “It is important to listen to what our customers see as their key challenges and opportunities but also for us as a business, to remind customers of the role of each of Kerry’s market leading brands in driving category sales,” said Paul. To aid this conversation, the Kerry Foods team built a display with key products from each of their leading brands. Research commissioned by Kerry Foods has identified the importance and centrality of Fridge Food in the consumer’s life. “What is interesting in the research is the centrality across Northern Ireland and Great Britain of core dairy and meat categories to the household fridge, however, what really jumps out is the affinity and trust that Northern Ireland consumers have for brands, and so they have a greater role to play in the fridges of Northern Ireland compared to Great Britain,” explained Paul. Paul went on to point out that Kerry Foods are privileged to own a number of leading Fridge Food brands including Denny, Golden Cow, Coleraine, Shaws, Galtee, Kerrymaid and LowLow. “Whilst many of Kerry’s brands have been about a long time, including Denny since 1820, what is really crucial for every brand is on-going insight based innovation. The Food Force Ireland event was an excellent platform to allow retailers to taste and experience the new LowLow Snack Packs, one example of leading innovation from the Kerry Foods Portfolio. The enthusiastic response from those present was consistent with the consumer reaction to date,” he added. In summary, Paul observed that: “The number and quality of supplier stands coupled with the excellent turnout of Food Force Ireland members gives me great confidence in a robust independent retailer scene in Northern Ireland for generations to come.”

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Gary Hopkins – National Account Manager NI 077 2189 2131


Damien McGartland 077 2189 2134

Fresh Food Kitchen If you are looking for inspiration at lunchtime or a delicious accompaniment to a main meal, look no further than Fresh Food Kitchen. Our inspiring range of tasty foods can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. We have a range of over 20 products to choose from, giving you an altogether fresher, bolder and tastier snack. We only put the best quality ingredients into our Fresh Food Kitchen foods, so you’ll get the most out of them.

Galberts Galberts has been making fresh, tasty food much like the meals you cook at home for many years. Taste is our number one priority, which means we will always use the best of Irish ingredients when possible. Our garlic breads are made with generous helpings of creamy Irish butter. Galberts is about traditional Irish favourites – nothing fancy, nothing trendy, just honest to goodness food that the whole family will enjoy.

CLANDEBOYE ESTATE The story of Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt starts on the historic parklands of the 2,000 acre Clandeboye Estate in County Down, Northern Ireland. The Estate is considered to be one of Ireland’s most important and beautiful natural landscapes. Our small herd of pedigree Holstein and Jersey cows feed on the Estate’s lush green pastures and are renowned nationally and internationally. We use only their milk to produce a range of handcrafted yoghurts which are available in both retail pots and food service containers. We are proud to be the ONLY yoghurt manufacturer in Northern Ireland. Email: Tel: 07929 796398


Norman Graham 077 2189 2133

ISLE OF MAN CREAMERY The dramatic unspoiled landscapes and lush rolling fields of the Isle of Man have inspired artists for centuries and, for the last few generations, our highly skilled cheese makers, who bring something of the island’s natural beauty and goodness to every cheese created. Our creamy, full-flavoured 12 month old Mature Cheddar is the perfect base for a choice of carefully chosen ingredients, such as Black Pepper, Garlic & Chive or a Hint of Chilli. Alternatively, the traditional Oak Smoked Mature Cheddar offers a subtle reflection on ancient skills. All of the island’s dairy farms are Farm-Assured – pace of life is slow and animal husbandry is excellent. All our milk, sourced exclusively from local dairy herds, is pasteurised then mixed with vegetarian rennet and non-fast ripening starter cultures, ensuring low levels of histamine and suitability for vegetarians. The skills of our cheese-makers have been passed on through generations and has made Isle of Man cheeses regular and consistent award winners. The Isle of Man cheese range is available in Ireland and Northern Ireland exclusively from PRM.


PRM Head Office Support 028 9262 0198

PRM Concessionaire for Unilever Ice-Cream Northern Ireland 028 9262 0200


Ormo and Hovis use their loaf at FFI P

remier Bakeries exhibited at this year’s event, using it as a great opportunity to showcase its existing and expanding range of new products from its market leading brands – ORMO and HOVIS. Both brands play a significant role within the Food Force bread category. Visitors to the stand were able to sample the great products and also see recipes on display, showing how versatile the products can be. The event presented the opportunity to further celebrate ORMO’s history and heritage. Spanning over 135 years, ORMO is one of Northern Ireland’s best known brands and for generations has played a significant role within the morning goods sector. It has continually adapted its offering to meet the ever changing needs of today’s consumers and is today a strong player within the bread category. Quality and taste remain the essence of the ORMO brand, with Pictured (l-r) are David Mills, Territory Sales Manager; David Cummings, Territory Sales local ingredients at the heart of the products. Extra focus has been Manager and Kerry Maxwell, Key Account Manager.  given to reducing salt levels, producing low saturated fats levels and giving clearer and more prominent positioning to nutritional information for today’s health conscious consumer. The Food Force Ireland event proved to be an ideal opportunity for HOVIS to display its new packaging which showcases the honest, wholesome natural breads in the range. HOVIS bread is baked in Belfast and is free from artificial preservatives and delivers great taste and freshness every day. All tastes are catered for – from the great new flavour of the ‘Best of Both’ range, to the wholesome goodness and health credentials of the bestselling Granary or Seed Sensations. Trevor McCrum, Business Unit Director at Premier Bakeries said: “Premier Bakeries (Ireland) continues to grow its business through Food Force Ireland during this challenging period, which is a real testament to the forward thinking nature of the committed retailers in FFI. At this year’s event, we were able to build solid relationships, discussing the challenges and opportunities, and looking at how we can support their specific needs. We look forward to building upon our partnership with Food Force Ireland as we move into 2014 and beyond.”

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Thompson’s Family Teas shows off its signature style Glenn McCracken from Punjana.


ocal tea company, Thompson’s Family Teas, who make Northern Ireland’s best-selling tea, Punjana, attended the recent Food Force Ireland Conference and showcased its newly launched ‘Thompsons Signature Blend’. This new specialty range recently won Double Gold with its confidently named ‘Turkish Apple ... Amazing!’. ‘Passionfruit and Orange Cocktail’, ‘Lemon Smoothie’ and ‘Organic Green Tea Pineapple’. The family business, run by cousins Ross and David Thompson, blend the entire range of Thompson’s Teas and their claim to blend the ‘Perfect Everyday Cuppa’ was further strengthened when their hero brand Punjana, Northern Ireland’s best-selling tea, won another Gold Star bringing the total to 10 Gold Stars over the last six years – a feat achieved by no other tea brand in the all-important blended tea bag sector. To find out more, visit or like us on Facebook @Punjana.

Seamus Given and Gabriel McGeow from Card Connection.

Alan Crossen from Tayto at this year’s Food Force Ireland Show.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Supermarket Supplies showcase quality thermal range of products

Gary Mason and Declan Colton from Irwins presents a loaf to Harry Oxtoby from Newell Stores.

Mark Bohill from Supermarket Supplies.


e are a new dynamic company, specialising in the wholesale of a variety of lines targeted at the independent stores. In the first year, we were able to achieve a substantial foothold and received excellent feedback. We supply fast moving merchandise including thinsulate range of hats and gloves. The range also includes different types of work and Thermal socks. We carry substantial stocks in our warehouse. We are the exclusive distributors of FEETHEATERS and the CO-ZEES brands. For all enquiries, please contact Mark Mob 07885 526199 or email

David McLaughlin and Richard Abbott from Craigs.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Fresh2u thrilled by FFI event A

nother happy supplier that attended the recent event was chilled food sales, marketing and distribution business, Fresh2u, who are based in Newry. Fresh2u offer a wide range of chilled food brands manufactured both locally and internationally. They used the recent FFI event to introduce to market the range of services it offers. From brand building through account representation at head offices and direct to stores; order capture via EDI (Economic Data Interchange), email and fax for daily delivery to central distribution centres; direct sales to store through its experienced van sales team; to in store merchandising and product placement; Fresh2u offer a comprehensive package of solutions. With an established, efficient chilled network throughout the UK and Ireland, products are delivered to Fresh2u chilled warehouse in Newry and prepared for forward distribution to its customers in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland via its fleet of refrigerated vehicles. Through HACCP and associated procedures such as real time temperature monitoring/recording both in Fresh2u’s warehouse and on its vehicles ensure that products are correctly received, stored and delivered. Its commitment to suppliers and customers is to deliver a quality, efficient, reliable and cost-effective solution through hard work and integrity. As the company approaches a landmark ten years in business, it has marked the occasion with a move to a new purpose built storage

facility in Newry, boasting refrigerated space for 250 pallets, with further office and ambient storage capacity. Brands and companies, Fresh2u now work with include, Hafner Sausages, Florida’s Natural Premium Orange Juice, Danepak, Kepak Convenience Foods, Fivemiletown Cheese, Big Pot Co, Summer Garden, Dragon Brand, Fresh Food Kitchen, Dewlay Cheesemakers, Clonakilty Puddings, Irish Bacon Slicers, Chef Cuisine and most recently SHS Sales & Marketing.

Pictured l-r are Alison Seaney (Big Pot Co) and Gary Millar (Fresh2u).

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Genesis Crafty support Food Force Ireland L

ocal bakery brand, Genesis Crafty, produced by family-owned McErlain’s Bakery, recently attended the Food Force Ireland supplier event at the Culloden Hotel. Started in 1968 by Joseph and Roberta McErlain, the company currently supply Northern Ireland’s independent retail network with their range of bread, pancakes, scones, farls, rolls and cakes. Forty-five years on, and with a continued focus on baking using age old recipes, traditional methods and high quality ingredients, Genesis Crafty is going from strength to strength under the management of Joseph and Roberta’s six sons. Having recently undergone a complete packaging redesign, the new Genesis Crafty packs accentuate the bakery’s core attributes – passionately handmade so a better taste for the customer – and feature clear information for each product in the range, explaining to customers how it’s made and why this makes it taste so good. The end result is summed up in the brand’s new strapline, “Six Brothers Making Baking Amazing”. Brian McErlain, Managing Director said: “Genesis Crafty delighted to once again be supporting Food Force Ireland as the independent retail network is extremely Pictured at the Food Force Ireland event are Paul McErlain and Bernard Monaghan, both Business Development Managers important to our day-to-day business.” responsible for the company’s overall support network including the management of stores and the van sales team.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130

McColgans UG A4.indd 1

15/11/2013 18:22


Showing their support in force

Gwen Rafferty, Claire McCann and Brian Ogle from Mackle Petfoods.

Derek Murphy and Peter Doherty from Britvic.

Mark Austin and Trevor Magowan from Robert Roberts.

Dessy Moen from Juice Press and Ian Shaw (Shop4U).

Nigel Morton and Jonathan Lamont from Northern Snack Foods.

Mark Weatherup and Paula Montgomery from SHS.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130


Pictured are Philip Balkwill, Franchisee Manager, Ivor Walsh, Area Sales Manager and Roy Wilson Area Sales Manager for Dale Farm.

Whilst supporting the latest Food Force event, White’s celebrated its success at the 2013 Great Taste Awards. Present were Tim Haines, Johnson Brothers (Distributing) Ltd; Edwina Gillespie, H A Emerson & Son Armagh; Grainne Keenan, H A Emerson & Son Armagh and Mark Gowdy, Whites Oats.

Nigel Johnston, Chris Walsh and Carol Ward from SOS Group.

Pictured is Ronan Magee from Moy Park.

Contact Food Force Ireland on: ✆ 028 9092 3130

perspective NEWS

New Linwoods Milled Chia Seed – the little seed with the mighty benefits! I

ntroducing the latest member of the Linwoods Healthy Super Foods range; Milled Chia... the little seed with mighty benefits. With it’s amazing nutritional offering, it is truly a super food. • Chia is one of the highest natural sources of Dietary Fibre in our super foods range. • High in Omega 3 it supports heart health through the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. • Chia is cold milled to aid quick and easy absorption in to the body, so you can feel the immediate nutritional benefits in your diet – naturally. • They have a mild flavour and texture similar to poppy seeds and are delicious added to any meal at any time of the day. Linwoods commitment to Quality • At Linwoods, its products are sourced in their raw format from around the world and are selected from the best suppliers and growers to meet the company’s high quality standards. • The Linwoods range of delicious and nutritious Super Foods are the perfect way to add essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to your diet, naturally. Linwoods Milled Chia is now available for stocking and will be supported with a comprehensive marketing campaign and high impact in-store activation materials. New Sales opportunity? Contact Linwoods for more information on +44(0)28 3756 8477, email or visit our website

Linwoods launch new health foods website promoting a healthy lifestyle A

shiny new website ( has just been launched by Linwoods, based in Armagh, devoted to providing information about the health benefits of its health foods and how to enjoy them and a healthy lifestyle. Linwoods healthy super food products are now sold throughout Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. This new website aims to help span that geography and bring the brand closer to its consumers. Emma Gribben, Digital Marketing Executive for Linwoods has been the mastermind behind bringing the new digital platform to fruition, she says: “The introduction of this new website is all part of the company’s strategy to align its products with the ever-growing interest that members of the public are taking in their health. “We were keen to provide a platform that would inform and engage consumers about the health benefits of each of our products and help them find a product that best suited their needs. I’m confident that our new recipe section and blog area, which will feature topical information about healthy lifestyles, will help our brand achieve that.”

3644• Ulster Grocer | JANUARY 2011


“Traceability, Quality and Local are the new commandments of the industry”, reports Samantha Livingstone 2

013 has presented the Meat industry in particular with a mixed bag of fortunes. Earlier in the year the horsemeat scandal caused great embarrassment for the sector and knocked the consumer’s confidence in many well-known food brands, producers, retailers and suppliers. As a result the industry has reacted with promises and pledges to be more transparent with traceability, achieve greater quality and to source locally. Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats says it’s a fact that people are eating, and will eat less meat, but of better quality. He thinks there needs to be an appropriate traceability system put in place. “Although we have the beef labelling scheme, Horsegate has shown that despite exemplary schemes of traceability, the product can be diluted with ingredients below expectation. We’ve seen offal, Mechanically Recovered Meat, cheap off-cuts and alternative species all added in. “This is about integrity. We need to shorten the supply chain, nurture our producers and penalise those who fall down on authenticity.” Jason Hamilton of Carnbrooke Meats agrees. Michele Shirlow from Food NI says there’s a growing appetite for more unusual meats. “We now have two goat meat producers. Broughgammon Farm does a roaring street food trade and Tyndale Goat Kid Farm is supplying some of our top chefs. The meat is completely traceable and it tastes great. It might be a little bit more expensive, but people are willing to pay a little more. They’re realising the true cost of cheap meat.” Commenting on the performance of the sector to date, the initiatives being put in place for the year ahead and what targets are being set for future growth, Department of Argiculture and Rural Development, Minister Michelle O’Neill says: “With over £4billion sales and almost 10% of private sector employment, the agriculture and food processing industries provide a very valuable contribution to the local economy. My Department has a long history of initiatives to support the performance of the sector, including education, skills and knowledge transfer programmes delivered by CAFRE; innovation and R&D undertaken by AFBI and a range of agri-food investment and other support measures. “The importance of the agri-food sector has also been recognised in the Economic

8 36• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

Traceability of our food was never more in the spotlight than throughout the controversy of the horsemeat scandal. I worked hard to ensure that consumers were aware that our beef is second to none and that they should have every confidence in the supply chain.” Strategy and Programme for Government 2011-15 which contains a commitment to develop a strategic plan for the sector. In line with that commitment, I along with the DETI Minister appointed the Agri-Food Strategy Board (AFSB) to develop a plan for export-led growth to 2020. The AFSB’s Strategic Action Plan Going for Growth was launched at this year’s Balmoral Show.   “The AFSB’s Vision is “Growing a sustainable, profitable and integrated Agrifood supply chain, focused on delivering the needs of the market”. It is based on the premise that - There is only one supply chain. “Going for Growth sets challenging targets that reflect the industry’s ambitions for increased sales, especially outside the north of Ireland, as well as job creation and overall contribution to our future prosperity. To achieve these targets the report makes over 100 recommendations for action primarily by industry government: Recommendations which the Board envisages will lead to an enhanced, sustainable and profitable industry delivering what consumers want to purchase and driving prosperity throughout the region. It is encouraging to see that the Board projects a further 15,000 jobs in the local economy by 2020, and targets to grow total sales by 60% to £7billion and sales outside the north by 75% to almost £4.5billion by 2020.  In addition the Board projects a 60% increase to £1billion in total added value of products and services from local companies. “Entering new markets is a key recommendation of the report.   I have not long returned from my second visit to China which is an export market of huge potential.  My engagements allowed me to raise awareness of the quality and safety of the north of Ireland’s livestock and

agri-products and the scientific expertise underpinning this. During my meetings with key government officials and decision makers I focussed on our robust traceability systems and our high animal health and welfare status.  “Traceability of our food was never more in the spotlight than throughout the controversy of the horsemeat scandal.  I worked hard to ensure that consumers were aware that our beef is second to none and that they should have every confidence in the supply chain. Evidence shows that since the horsemeat scandal many consumers are switching to local produce, and many of the main supermarkets are starting to source the majority of meat products from local suppliers.   Indeed many of these supermarkets have embarked on campaigns to encourage people to switch to local produce, which in turn will ultimately drive demand for produce.” The Ulster Farmers’ Union has recently came forth to say it is shocked and dismayed by the results of its recent survey of Northern Ireland lamb on local supermarket shelves, which revealed a disappointingly low proportion of local lamb being stocked by some retailers. The survey was carried out by the UFU Hill Farming Policy Committee during a two week period in mid-September this year. The UFU has also raised concerns over a landmark trade deal between the EU and Canada, which could have significant implications for Northern Ireland’s beef and pig industries, and has warned that this must not set a precedent for the EU-US trade talks. The trade deal, agreed last month, will allow Canada to export large volumes of fresh and frozen beef meat and pig meat to the EU. While in comparison, Canada has conceded access to its cheese market. 45


Innovation can help NI thrive in marine sector E

Arlene Foster with Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive Marine Institute at the SmartOcean Forum at Titanic Belfast.

nterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has said Northern Ireland can become a leader in the development of products for the global marine sector. Speaking at the recent SmartOcean Forum at Titanic Belfast, Arlene Foster said: “SmartOcean Forum follows the recent Northern Ireland Investment Conference which successfully highlighted to an international business audience the strengths that we have to offer. “Programmes like SmartOcean allow us to continue building on our traditional strengths of engineering excellence and our long history of innovation, whilst developing new skill sets to meet the needs of the fast changing world of technology and renewable energy.” The Invest Northern Ireland sponsored event focused on developing hightech products and services for traditional sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture, transport and security and emerging sectors such as renewable ocean energy and environmental monitoring, and ocean observation.

Devenish ‘raise the stakes’ for competition T

he European Angus Steak Tasting Competition which is about to enter its fourth year has secured sponsorship for the event from leading agri-technology company, Devenish Nutrition. This is the first time that the high profile event, which is open to all breeds of cattle and beef producers, has had a sponsor but according to European Angus Cattle Society Secretary, Harry McGaffin “the timing is perfect”. “The European Angus Steak Tasting Competition, which now also includes burger and sausage categories, has grown to such an extent that event sponsorship was very much needed and we are absolutely delighted to welcome Devenish Nutrition on board,” said Harry. The new sponsorship continues a working partnership which commenced in May of this year when Devenish Nutrition sponsored the European Angus classes at the Balmoral Show. The Steak Tasting Competition, which attracts entries from all over the Province, will now be known as ‘the European Angus Steak

Tasting Competition sponsored by Devenish Nutrition’. Due to be held at CAFRE Loughry Campus in early 2014 the competition will once again seek to find the best steaks, beefburgers, beef sausages and gourmet beef sausages in Northern Ireland. “The format remains the same with the staging of blind tastings for all entries,” continued Harry. “A guest judge will then select the overall Supreme Champion Steak from the finalists. A supreme champion beefburger, beef sausage and gourmet beef sausage will also be revealed along with category winners.” The competition which culminates in a Gala Awards evening is held in two categories, Under 15 employees and Over 15 employees, with all types of steak given the taste test – Sirloin, Fillet and Rib-eye! Competition sponsor, Devenish Nutrition, headquartered in Belfast but with two sites in the United States, Iowa and Minnesota, is dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of quality premixes, pre-starters,

starters and concentrates along with speciality products for the intensive livestock sector. Commenting on the sponsorship arrangement Simon Caughey of Devenish Nutrition said: “Devenish Nutrition are delighted to be supporting the European Angus Cattle Society again by sponsoring this great competition. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the great produce that comes out of Northern Ireland and we are proud to be part of that.” “It complements research and development work we have done in recent years where we have delivered improved organoleptic characteristics in meat for our customers across different species which has been shown to enhance taste.” The tastings will be held in February 2014 and the Gala Awards evening the following month. Dates will be confirmed early in the new year. Further information on the event can be obtained by contacting European Angus Cattle Society Secretary, Harry McGaffin on 077 1558 4887.

New Pig Innovation Centre to open in 2014 S

ainsbury’s Chief Executive Justin King was in Northern Ireland with Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster to get a first glimpse of a new Pig Innovation Centre in Antrim. The new centre, which is due to open early in the new year, has been supported by Sainsbury’s through its Agriculture Research and Development Grant and is a joint venture between Dunbia and Malcolm Keys Farms. It will help to develop higher welfare pig production in Northern Ireland.  Sainsbury’s support comes on the back of its commitment in June this year to source 100% Northern Irish fresh pork and to increase pork production here to help meet national as well as local demand. Pictured with Justin King and Arlene Foster are Jim Dobson, Jack Dobson, Dunbia, and Malcolm Keys, M Keys Farms.



Good butchers can boast of traceability from farm gate to customer plate, but at the century-old Ewing’s fish facility, it’s from ship to service – usually within 24 hours. Brian McCalden reports on what it means to sell fish that is really fresh.

Fresh expansion ideas for award-winning Ewing’s C

rawford Ewing is the latest of three generations of his family to run the famous Shankill Road fish shop – and latterly food service factory – and is, like his father, Walter today and his late grandfather, William who founded the firm, very much hands-on. A typical day sees Crawford on the factory floor by 6.30am supervising orders for outlets as diverse as the new Robinson & Cleaver restaurant in down town Belfast to regular orders for Selfridges in London. As Christmas approaches and business in the retail shop picks up apace, Crawford is also looking across the oceans to markets as yet untapped. “Dubai is one major target, as is Portugal, Italy and the Irish-American stronghold of Boston,” he said, adding that he has already taken part in Invest NI-led trade delegations and is well on the way to developing his contacts. Building on this year’s achievement of four separate Great Taste Awards for cod and smoked salmon products, and being placed 9th out of 10,000 products tested by the UK Guild of Fine Food, Ewing’s is about to expand. “It’s a long way from the typical wee Shankill woman who still buys her potted herring in the shop as a weekend treat to the plush dining tables of rich Arabs, but that’s what our award-winning business is doing,” he said. “As the supplier of the only certified organic salmon product – from Glenarm on the Antrim coast – in Northern Ireland we are currently starting to move from our 90% retail trade – strong though it is – to expansion of food service. “Already, high-end retail customers regularly spend £100 and more per visit, so moving this quality on to not only high-end restaurants and major retailers, but abroad as well, is an obvious move.” However, with no sales team whatsoever, the company depends entirely on word-ofmouth: “To that end, we have always looked after our existing customer base first and foremost, but the new, grant-aided factory behind the shop means there’s scope to move on to,” he added. “If it swims in the sea, we sell it,” boasts the director, “we even provide eels to that

Ewing’s Pale Smoked Code was awarded one of four Great Taste Awards this year.

We are delighted to achieve this (Great Taste Award). I am convinced it will be of enormous benefit.” specific market he added. “Salmon in the mainstay, graces many private dinner tables, while our award-winning cod is very well received too.” Ewing’s started in 1911 when the shop first opened and then the factory was built in 1999 and has just been extended again with work completed six months ago. It can truly boast that while it served those who built the Titanic (many shipyard workers came from The Road) it now also services the multi-million pound Titanic Signature Building that opened for the centenary of the tragic luxury vessel’s loss too. Employment has now grown to 18 full-time workers, trading 9-5pm, six days a week retail and a much, much earlier start for the food production. DARD and Invest NI grants and

the trade missions have all helped spark this development. “That’s the kind of history and heritage we hold,” Crawford said. Caught today, eaten tomorrow Some things don’t change and this means dedication, with staff buying at the dockside in Kilkeel, Portavogie and Ardglass in their respective auctions. “The fish swimming in the Irish sea on a Friday will usually be caught, bought, processed, delivered, cooked and served by our numerous customers on the Saturday or Sunday. It’s that fresh.” In fact, the company supplies 300 of the best known restaurants in Northern Ireland, with 200 of them taking deliveries every day. In retail, an idea of Crawford’s to produce gift packs of smoked organic salmon that proved a winner last year are already proving popular in 2013. “With a long shelf life, these high class, relatively low-cost packs are a success,” he added. The Great Taste Awards were a huge boost too: “We are delighted to achieve this, especially since it was a first time entry for Ewing’s. “I am convinced it will be of enormous benefit as we seek to expand outside Northern Ireland,” Crawford concluded. 47


Clayton Moore is a happy man. A customer told him that she had just driven past six other butcher shops to reach his own cornucopia of a shop – and that’s proof enough that the Co. Armagh butcher and his farm (and family) partner, David Weir are doing things right. Brian McCalden reports.

Award-winning beef - and more adds value to M&W Farm Meats C

layton’s ‘butcher’ shop and adjacent cooked food unit nestle in the picturesquely named village of Scotch Street, set halfway between Portadown and Moy. Set on a rural roadside shopping centre, M&W Farm Meats is graphic evidence that the smaller retailer really has the edge over not only the major supermarket’s in-store meat counter, but also in this case, proven as far ahead of much of the opposition. Even in recession, customers come from as far away as Banbridge every week, such is the quality of offering. Clayton, who has 28 years of experience


as a butcher behind him, working in shops and meat plants, knows his trade and now, his customers too: “Local butchers encourage shoppers to buy good quality, value for money – and value-added – produce and are able to add the one vital ingredient that is missing in the multiples – personal dedication. “It’s the difference between being the proprietor and being an employee of a supermarket that gives me the edge,” he said. “In fact, I spend six days of every week in the shop, and take just one 10 day holiday annually. Even when I opened our second outlet as a butcher counter in Moutray’s My

Costcutter store in Moygashel, I personally spent the first weeks running the facility before handing over to my team of staff.” Even in his rare downtime, Clayton takes the opportunity to check out the opposition and has to actually fight-off the urge to get behind the counter: “I was in both an M&S and Sainsbury’s and had to resist getting my sleeves rolled-up and sorting out their counter display. It was really that poor.” Clayton insists that customers shop with their eyes first and indeed, it is the visual impact of this multi-award-winning butcher that makes an immediate impression.


Flanked on three sides by the very latest serve-over chilled display cabinets, packed with every possible variation of meats, colour, range and depth, the professional display is apparent at once. A fourth side is packed with pies and special home cooked goods far too numerous to list here, but including eggs, milk and even local apple juice. Beef comes from the farm of Clayton’s father-in-law, David Weir, an award-winning Hereford and Angus breeder who has won Best Hereford in NI just this year and was runner-up in the UK competition. David sends his cattle to Oakdale in Lurgan for killing, and it is then delivered as full, traditional quarters to the shop and food production facility. Staff then bone out and uniquely age the beef for a minimum of 21 days before sale: “That gives us a major point of difference,” commented Clayton. The original 900 sq. ft. shop was opened in September 2006 and the new cooked department opened in 2011 with the Moygashel in-store butchers in 2012. The original store was also extensively refurbished in 2013. Five star The local environmental health officials are well impressed too and Clayton says he has been awarded the maximum five-star rating every year since day one. But that’s not the only sector to be impressed and there’s no less than 15 certificates on display on top and around the deli counter: numerous sausage awards; two gold and one silver in national awards and a recent short-listing in the Agri-food Business Awards and two gold stars in the Great British Taste Awards, to name but a few. “I was especially pleased to attend, as a finalist, the recent Farming Life/Danske Bank Small Food Business Awards as well as the National Federation of Meat & Food Trades Awards as a winner, in Malvern,” said Clayton. But beef is far from the full story, even though beef awards dominate the newly

redesigned M&W Farm Meats packaging. Lamb comes from the nearby fields of Morris Robinson, pork from Sprotts in Portadown and poultry from Rockvale in Richhill. There’s also a range of home-produced turkeys for the festive season. The busy outlet opens from 8.30am to 6.00pm six days a week, and catering is undertaken in the new cooked food facility daily as well. There are just over ten staff, full and part-time, including three full-time butchers and one Year Three apprentice. Clayton’s wife, Rhonda runs the family home and the ‘books’, looking after VAT and wages and keeping Clayton company at the increasing number of ‘black-tie’ awards he now attends for his products. Clayton knows the value of good staff too: “It’s thanks to a dedicated and skilled staff across all the jobs that has seen M&W Farm meats succeed and thrive. There’s huge potential for growth too, so it’s good to be able to provide secure employment at this difficult time, as recession still has an impact.” Growth of course is essential and catering and value-added retail lines are a clear priority for expansion. Although he has had to turn down supplying some retailers as logistics wouldn’t allow some specific developments,

overall value-added, oven ready products are an excellent and profitable line in the store itself. “People love our fresh, local, tasty products. By doing all the prep work and adding just a bit more in price, we can supply something a bit more exciting than supermarket ‘ready meals’ and these are selling well,” said the butcher. Cooked ham and roast beef are still carved off a traditional ‘bacon slicer’ and served loose into packaging (and are delicious too!) and there’s fresh local mushrooms, Barnhill Apple Juice (from just down the road) and much more. Added to the (‘home-made’) coleslaw, pizza, lasagne, curries, pies and even banoffee, apple crumble and other desserts as well as a home made cheesecake and there’s a huge menu far beyond ‘just’ the exceptional butchery products. As Christmas 2013 approaches, it looks like being a happy one for M&W Farm Meats, although Clayton is taking nothing for granted in a competitive market and continues to invest. Unlike his own locally-farmed turkeys, the award-winning butcher is however, looking forward to a busy time at the festive season. 49


Talking with... Alastair McQuillan, Head of Consumer Foods, Ireland at Karro Food Group Karro Food Group is one of Britain’s leading pork producers. The company supplies fresh pork, and cured and cooked meats such as bacon and ham to retail, foodservice and manufacturing customers across the UK.

What has made my job enjoyable over the years has been the people I have met, both internally and externally, and the relationships I have built”


he company operates through integrated farming, slaughter and processing operations from nine sites across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Cookstown site has a long history in the area after being formed in 1938 and processing 2500 pigs per week, it has seen extensive expansion over the years to its current capacity of circa 22,500 pigs per week. Alastair McQuillan, Head of Consumer Foods, Ireland at Karro Food Group, tells Ulster Grocer a bit about his role at the company and how Karro plans to grow in the year ahead. “I have been with the business since graduating from my degree at the University of Ulster 26 years ago and joining Lovell and Christmas in Ballymoney. There have been many changes since then, including the Malton Foods takeover in 1996, followed by the VION Food Group acquisition in 2008. Karro Food Group then took over the UK pork division of the business in January 2013 and I’m pleased to now be working as head of Consumer Foods for Ireland. My team and I look after the retail side of the business, liaising with the big supermarkets, as well as independent retailers. “What has made my job enjoyable over the years has been the people I have met, both internally and externally, and the relationships I have built; many of which stretch over 20 years. The food industry is a great sector to work in and I have a special fondness for the meat industry in particular, the team I work with make coming to work every day worthwhile and I get a real buzz out of what I do. “In fact, it is as a result of meeting some 8 • •Ulster 3652 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

great people, that I have learnt to maintain integrity in trading relationships. Your reputation carries a lot of value and I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that’s not just within the meat industry. I think it’s important to always be upfront and honest with the people I’m working with, particularly working on the retail side of the business.” Talking about the plans for Karro in 2014, Alastair says: “Karro will continue to develop the complete end to end supply chain relationships. There will be continued focus on relationships with our farmers, there will be investment in our facility to ensure we remain an efficient and competitive producer,

We will continue to work closely with our customers to understand their requirements and respond to market trends and needs.”

coupled with a programme of continuous improvement and cost reduction. We will continue to work closely with our customers to understand their requirements and respond to market trends and needs. We will also be focusing on growing the Cookstown brand and developing export markets with our trade partners. “This sector has had it extremely tough over the last decade and it’s hard to imagine that things will get any easier as internet shopping increases and large supermarket stores continue to dominate the market. There is no doubt that a large part of this sector will lose its independence and that the multiples will continue to increase their number of convenience stores, for those independent retailers continuing to trade I think they need to think of themselves as a service industry, try not to compete on price and continue to diversify. Food-to go, post offices and in store cafés are now in many of these stores and I think that’s the direction they need to head in”, concludes Alastair.


NI red meat processor grows sales in Germany K

ettyle Irish Foods, the Northern Irish meat processor specialising in dry-aged beef, lamb and bacon, has seen sales in Germany triple over the past six months. The company, based at Lisnaskea in county Fermanagh, is growing its business in Germany through a network of six distributors and is benefiting from increasing demand in the market from consumers seeking beef that it ages from between 25-40 days. The growth in sales has also been boosted by the launch of innovative products including a unique bone-marrow melt burger, a beef patty covered with a bone marrow butter, a product that gained the company a three-star UK Great Taste Award and a listing in the Top 50 Foods in 2012/13. Maurice Kettyle, managing director of Kettyle Irish Foods, commenting on the growth in the German market, says: “The success is the result of our focus on developing a network of distributors there and on the development of premium and tasty meats that appeal particularly to German consumers. “We’ve been working to grow sales in this hugely important European market over the past four years and it’s likely to be worth more than £2m to the company in the year ahead. Our meat is pitched at the premium end of the market and consumers prepared to pay a bit more for outstanding taste and consistently high quality products. “We’ve invested time and other resources on building trust among consumers and distributors there. They know they can count of us to deliver quality meat from the traceability and provenance that Northern Ireland provides from its focus on grass-fed animals and safe processing,” he adds. Kettyle Irish Foods currently employs around 45 people in its dry-ageing and processing operations in a modern factory in Northern Ireland’s largely pollution-free lakelands.

Sainsbury’s steps up UK sourcing with commitment S

ainsbury’s announced its milestone move to all its fresh pork in Northern Ireland supermarkets to be sourced 100% from Northern Irish farms. Sourcing from more local farmers than ever before and sourcing closer to home will increase Sainsbury’s demand for Northern Irish pork significantly. Traditional fresh favourites including pork loins, chops and joints available in Sainsbury’s 13 stores in Northern Ireland will all be sourced locally while Sainsbury’s will be doubling the amount of pork sourced here in Northern Ireland to cover Sainsbury’s store network across the UK. This comes on the back of prior commitments to source local fresh beef and lamb. The move gives Sainsbury’s pig farmers in Northern Ireland the confidence to invest in their future and it reduces reliance on pork from the EU including Dutch and Danish. Sainsbury’s has built its investment as part of its commitment to double the amount of UK sourced food it sells by 2020 and responded to customers increasing interest in home grown food. Sue Lockhart, Head of Agriculture at Sainsbury’s said: “Sourcing food closer to home and developing even stronger links with farmers is a key part of continuing to lead on fresh food. Our customers trust us to source the very best fresh food in a sustainable way.”

Moy Park launch range of dining solutions


oy Park, Ireland’s number one poultry brand, has the perfect range of dining solutions for busy families this Autumn/ Winter. As the festive season approaches, a Moy Park Corn Fed Irish Free Range Chicken provides a delicious option for a traditional roast dinner and remains a popular choice as families continue to look for value for money. Whether consumers are cooking for a large party of guests or preparing for a casual lunch with family and friends, a Moy Park chicken offers a succulent, full of flavour dining option. Locally sourced, this versatile product is easy to prepare, with leftovers perfect for a range of tasty meals – guaranteeing there will be something for everyone to enjoy during the holiday season! Recognising growing consumer demand for healthy, locally sourced food that is quick and easy to cook, Moy Park has also developed a range of both fresh and convenience products under the Moy Park brand – all made with 100% locally sourced chicken. Recent Kantar research highlights that chicken fillets remain one of the most sought-after poultry products, as consumers place importance on quality, nutrition and versatility. Moy Park’s Irish Chicken Breast Fillets are not only easy to prepare but are a convenient option for a range of dishes suitable for the whole family. Moy Park has developed two 100% Irish Chicken Breast Joints as part of its successful ready to cook range. One is butter basted and the other butter basted and stuffed with a bread and herb stuffing. Both Moy Park joints serve two to three people and are oven-ready in a foil tray making them easy to prepare and a convenient option for a family dinner, celebration or Sunday lunch. For information on products and distribution call the Commercial team at Moy Park on 028 3835 2233. For news and updates visit 53

tobacco perspective NEWS

Smoke Spots – UK’s top B&H goes for Gold “smokers’ service site” J



mperial Tobacco announced that its recently launched website for finding smoker friendly places, Smoke Spots, has surpassed expectations and become the number one service site for smokers in the UK. The popularity of Smoke Spots is indicative of the recognised need for a place for smokers to go online; to find other smokers, share smoking experiences and review places to go that are smoker-friendly. On the site, where users can submit ‘spots’ – pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs that have smoking facilities – the database is growing quickly and is about to hit 1,000 venues thanks to the submissions of the eager community. Whilst Smoke Spots UK is still in its infancy, this recent success at hitting the top spot is simply fuelling the existing global plans, already in motion, for this site’s concept.

TI is launching a modern new pack design for its Premium cigarette brand, Benson and Hedges Gold. Available from November across all channels, the new state-of-the-art packaging reinforces the brand’s timeless quality credentials, enabling retailers to continue to maximise their profits from the Premium cigarette segment. The pack refresh builds on the rich heritage of B&H, bringing a contemporary look to the iconic brand. It incorporates new features including a prominent B&H signature and crest, driving the quality of Benson and Hedges. The pack features a dynamic new gold colour to emphasise the premium nature of the product to retailers and existing adult smokers alike. To celebrate the new packs, JTI has launched a competition offering tobacco retailers the chance to win an exclusive trip to London – including an overnight stay in a luxury London hotel and an evening’s entertainment at the O2. To be in with a chance of winning, tobacco retailers should text GOLD to 66777* before the closing date of 9th December, with no purchase necessary. For full competition Terms and Conditions, please contact the JTI Customer Care Line on 0800 163 503. Benson and Hedges Gold pack RRPs and blend remain unaffected by the change.

New Hamlet ‘Manly Knowledge’ tins J

TI is introducing four limited edition tins for its top selling cigar brand Hamlet, designed to help retailers grow their cigar profits in the run up to the fast approaching festive season. Available now nationally (while stocks last) the four ‘Manly Knowledge’ designs are printed directly inside the inner lids of Hamlet Miniature 10s. Whilst staying true to Hamlet’s brand values, the limited edition tins are designed to build relevance amongst existing adult smokers whilst helping to differentiate Hamlet from its key competitors during the festive season. The tins can be identified externally by a “Limited Edition” motif printed on the outer lid. Jeremy Blackburn, JTI’s Head of Communications, says: “Cigars are particularly important at this time of year, when demand typically increases. Retailers should be looking to stock up now on a comprehensive range of cigars, covering the most popular formats and brands, including our new Hamlet limited edition tins. To ensure retailers won’t be missing out on any sales opportunities this festive season, JTI’s Trade Marketeers will be visiting stores in December with Hamlet 5s and Miniature 10s – retailers should take advantage of this and ask our reps what they can do to maximise cigar sales.” Over 40 million[1] cigars were sold in December 2012, generating more than £25m[2] in retail sales value – this represents a volume increase of 6.2%[3] compared to November. [1] Nielsen Market Track December 2012 [2] Nielsen Market Track December 2012 [3] Nielsen Market Track December 2012 vs. November 2012

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Seven year sales in excess of £1bn elevate Tayto to Group UK league of Top 250 Private Companies


he Tayto Group, the UK’s third largest snack manufacturer, has earned a place on the latest Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 – the league table of the UK’s leading mid-market private companies. Headquartered in Tandragee, Co Armagh, The Tayto Group owns the Golden Wonder, Jonathan Crisp, Real, Mr Porky and Midland Snacks brands. The company has been making Tayto crisps at its Northern Ireland production facility, Tayto Castle, since 1956 and its recent entry into the league table reflects the Group’s innovative growth strategy, with turnover reaching £200million in 2013. Paul Allen, Tayto Group CEO, comments: “We are delighted to have earned a place on the Top Track 250 League Table. This is a family-owned business which has grown from strength to strength since the acquisition of major brands including Golden Wonder, Real Crisps and Mr Porky. From a £19m turnover base in 2001, turnover is now £200m annualised with £250m targeted within the next three years. Over the last seven years we have reached £1billion of sales. That is a

(L-R) Paul Allen, Tayto Group CEO and Stephen Hutchinson, managing director of Tayto Group

fantastic achievement and we are really proud of the work done by all our teams around the country.” Top Track 250 is compiled by Fast Track and published in The Sunday Times each October. A Top Track 250 company must

have sales above £150m and be owned and run by established families and entrepreneurs. Only the top 250 companies in the UK feature and inclusion is based on showing significant increased sales or operating profit in the latest available accounts.

Consumer Insight and Market Update: October 2013


s we head towards Christmas, the feel-good factor across the economy continues, with many indicators of economic and consumer confidence continuing to track upwards. One of the largest research companies, GfK measure of UK Consumer Confidence, for instance, recorded a gain of 3 points in September, taking it to the highest level that the measure has reached since November 2007, just before what used to be known as the Credit Crunch hit. So, can we now look forward to a return to pre-recessionary attitudes and consumer behaviour? Actually, the answer is almost certainly not, because the landscape has changed over the last six years, possibly permanently, and behaviour learned by consumers during the previous half decade has now become an ingrained habit. Let’s take a couple of examples to illustrate the point. The first example has been nothing short of a retail phenomenon over the last

8 36• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

few years; the emergence of the discounters. Traditionally viewed, (probably unfairly), as a downmarket option for downmarket consumers, Aldi and Lidl have re-invented themselves over the last few years to embrace a wide range of customers, and seize a significant chunk of the retail grocery market. Despite coming up against excellent year-onyear figures, they continue to deliver marketbusting stellar growth, month after month. The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that, in GB, Aldi posted growth of almost 32% over the last 12 weeks, with Lidl seeing growth of 13%, taking the discounters to a combined share of 6.8%, a higher share than the Co-operative. In the Republic of Ireland, current growth of 23% for Aldi and 10% for Lidl is slightly lower than in Great Britain, but this is against the context of a much weaker grocery market, and with the discounters enjoying a far higher combined share of 14.5%. However, the discounters’ success story is not just about capitalising on poor economic times; they have ensured that their progress is sustainable by stocking credible products, several of which have gone onto win awards; indeed, Aldi itself was named Grocer of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards in March. Once the discounters attract shoppers, they tend to retain them; for many consumers, Aldi and Lidl are now an established part of their shopping repertoire,

with competitive prices and credible ranges a powerful incentive to remain loyal. Our second example is very recent, and concerns consumers’ view of whether their own personal economic circumstances will worsen in the next year. When questioned on 10th and 11th October, 41% of respondents expected their economic circumstances to worsen; only a week later, that figure had leapt to 48% (footnote 3). So what changed in the space of seven days? Two words: energy prices. The cost of utilities is the single biggest concern for most consumers, with one survey showing that 61% of respondents were very concerned about prices4. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a week of announcements of energy price increases from the major providers should have a discernable negative effect on improving, but still fragile, consumer confidence. So, even in an improving economic climate, the “new normal” of recessionary behaviour may well be here to stay, and the experience of the last few years will almost certainly continue to result in instances of defensive consumer behaviour. Sources: 1 – GFK UK Consumer Confidence, September 2013; 2 – Kantar Worldpanel 12 w/e 13th October 2013; 3 – YouGov, fieldwork 10th/11th and 17th/18th October 2013; 4 – Moy Park / Toluna survey of 500 consumers, May 2013


BRAND perspective NEWS

Kestrel Foods puts energy into new sports nutrition brand Healthy snack range Acti-Snack hits the market P

ortadown-based Kestrel Foods, experts in the dried fruit and nuts category, has launched Acti-Snack, an innovative range of healthy mixed fruit, nut and seed snacks, in the UK and Ireland. The range comprises five unique mixes, ‘Sweet & Sour Mango’, ‘Fruit, Nut & Seed’, ‘Fruit & Nut’, ‘Fruit, Nut & Soya’ and ‘Nut Mix’, all of which are gluten free, free from artificial additives and preservatives and designed to meet a variety of sports nutrition requirements. A totally unique product in the sports nutrition category, Acti-Snack has been developed using Kestrel Foods’ vast experience to deliver an ‘energy on the go’ snacking solution combining health, nutrition and taste. Ronan Gourley, Sales Manager Health and Leisure, Acti-Snack, explains how the Acti-Snack range meets the needs of today’s consumer: “We developed Acti-Snack in response to the growing consumer demand for healthy, convenient snacks, using quality natural ingredients – with a focus on taste and nutrition. We also wanted to meet the needs of the growing consumer segment who seek gluten free options.” Mr Gourley continued: “The legacy of the 2012 Olympics, combined with the growing number of health and nutrition conscious consumers, has seen a surge in participation


Ronan Gourley

in sporting activities and membership of sports clubs. Research showed us that a large portion of active consumers seek a natural, healthy snacking option which has real benefit

to them nutritionally and physically – and Acti-Snack is the perfect solution. Each product has been scientifically developed to meet sports nutrition objectives – protein for recovery, carbohydrates for fuel and a mix of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates for endurance. This is a one of a kind product in the sports nutrition category, combining the best in natural ingredients with targeted nutritional benefits.” Acti-Snack products are available in a convenient slim-line, impulse pack – perfect for running belts or saddle packs – as well as the Acti-Snack Power Pack, a re-sealable multiple serving pack format, and multi-pack option for added convenience. For information on Acti-Snack products and distribution call Ronan Gourley, Sales Manager Health and Leisure, Acti-Snack on 07720 739417 or email ronan@acti-snack. com. For news and updates visit

We developed Acti-Snack in response to the growing consumer demand for healthy, convenient snacks, using quality natural ingredients – with a focus on taste.”




Cornetto keeps sales fresh with new Mint pack C

ornetto, the leading filled cone brand from Unilever UK[1], is introducing a mint flavoured multipack to build on the existing In Home range. The launch ties in with the release of the film The World’s End and will be supported as part of a £1m marketing

investment into the brand for 2013. Available to retailers now, the four-piece multipacks will tap into the growing Handheld Multipacks Market, now worth over £367m[2]. Mint is a key flavour for winter, making the Cornetto Mint 4-pack a must stock for retailers as this season approaches. [1] IRI Data 6th July 2013 – Value Sales [2] IRI Data 6th July 2013 – Value Sales

Parazone re-launches Parazone Thick Bleach P

arozone Thick Bleach is one of the strongest thick bleaches in the UK market and available exclusively to the wholesale, cash & carry and discount sectors. The re-launch heralds a striking new packaging design for the range, aimed at increasing sales and helping retailers and wholesalers grow their profits from the toilet care category. Parozone Thick Bleach has strong germ-kill credentials due to its high chlorine level, killing 99.9% of germs. At an RSP of £0.75 for a 750ml bottle, the product offers excellent value for money. Parozone Thick Bleach is available in a range of five fragrance options: Original, Citrus, Hot Pink, Lavender and Alpine. Yvonne Adam, Marketing Director at Jeyes, says: “Bleach is an essential product for retailers to stock, and is currently helping to drive the growth we’re seeing within the toilet care category – now worth £229m.

For more information visit

Kerrygold is reinvigorated with launch of new spreadable


he introduction of Kerrygold Spreadable sees the brand responding to the increasing demand for spreadable butter. With the spreadable market currently worth £368.7m[1], it is the largest category within the BSM sector in terms of value and is growing at a rate of 2.5% in value terms yoy. Kerrygold identified that shoppers are changing their behaviour in order to save money, with 69% of shoppers admitting they have changed their spending to save on household expenses[2]. The new 400g pack size meets both the requirements of those with a family and smaller households, whilst allowing consumer to purchase a delicious, quality, spreadable butter – at a reasonable price point. Kerrygold Spreadable (400g) RSP £2.69, is now available in all major retailers. [1] Nielsen 17.08.13 [2] Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey, GB Q4 2012

Brandy on pack Stena Line competition offer


randy is delighted to announce that we have teamed up with to run an on pack competition, offering customers the chance to ‘Win 1 of 50 Stena Line Trips for Your Family, Your Car & Your Dog!’ Each prize consists of a return crossing for the winner, their car, up to four passengers and of course their family dog! Each competition winner can choose to travel on any of the five Stena Line Irish Sea Routes. There are also 300 runners-up prizes of Brandy Travel Sets to be won. This on pack promotion will run from August to the end of December on all Brandy 6 Packs, including Traditional Loaf, Chunks in Jelly and Chunks in Gravy 6 packs. It will also feature on Brandy Complete Original 2.5kg and Brandy Complete Chicken & Rice 2.5kg bags. Customers will be able to access the competition via our website and via Facebook. or



People on the move

in association with

Unit A4, 17 Heron Road, Sydenham Business Park, Belfast, BT3 9LE. Tel: 028 9045 5040 • Fax: 028 9073 9058

Christine Whelan Field Sales Manager Kestrel Foods Christine Whelan has been appointed Field Sales Manager by dried fruit and nut experts Kestrel Foods, with responsibility for strategic planning and overseeing the growth of symbol group and convenience store customers in Ireland. Christine has wide experience from within the FMCG sector, working previously with Jacobs Biscuits and Cuisine de France.

Ronan Gourley Sales Manager for Health & Leisure Kestrel Foods Ronan Gourley has been appointed Sales Manager for Health and Leisure by dried fruit and nut experts Kestrel Foods, with responsibility for the development and growth of the business’ new Acti-Snack brand. Ronan brings to Kestrel Foods 14 years sales experience in the sport and food sectors, most recently with Nike and Cadbury.

Paul McIlwrath, Fresh Foods Category Planner with the Henderson Group Paul McIlwrath has recently been appointed Fresh Foods Category Planner for Henderson Wholesale, part of the Henderson Group. Paul will be responsible for the development and maintenance of fresh food space and ranges and will assist the fresh foods trading team in developing and growing all fresh foods categories and product ranges. Paul brings 14 years sales and account management experience from previous roles at Kerry Foods.

Nisa appoints new business unit director Nisa Retail Limited has appointed Vodafone ‘s retail expert Steve Leach to the newly created position of business unit director for independents and specialists as Nisa continues to invest in its future growth as a more retail focused company. Steve will report directly into Amanda Jones, chief operating officer, and his role will focus on supporting the differing needs of Nisa’s independent and specialist members, such as the McColl’s Retail Group, with the aim of developing and growing this side of the business. Steve has a wealth of experience within the retail sector, most recently holding the position of head of retail at Vodafone where he delivered a retail transformation programme to drive operational excellence, creating a true customer led retail experience. Steve also previously held senior roles at Alliance Boots, as head of retail transformation, as well as management roles at Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer. Amanda Jones commented: “We are delighted to welcome Steve on board as the new business unit director for independents and specialists, which will take effect from January. His appointment demonstrates the positive strategic direction Nisa is taking to become a more retail focused business that is more equipped to deliver retail solutions and benefits to our wide range of differing members in an increasingly competitive market place. ” Steve commented: ““I am delighted to join Nisa at this very exciting time for the business. I look forward to working collaboratively with all the independent and specialist members, to build on their current success and to support them in their future growth.

RECRUITMENT, CONTRACTING & FIELD MARKETING CONSULTANTS 3O YEAR’S RECRUITING IRELAND’S TOP SALES & MARKETING PERSONNEL Unit A4, 17 Heron Road, Sydenham Business Park, Belfast, BT3 9LE. Tel: 028 9045 5040 • Fax: 028 9073 9058


Now in their 26th year, the prestigious Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards are Open for entry!!!


Market ingAwards 40 Years At the heart of the Northern Ireland food industry


The 2014 Awards feature eight categories designed to showcase the very best that the local food and grocery retail industry has to offer:

Winners will be revealed: When: Friday 9th May 2014 Where: Gala Ball, Supporting Grocery Aid, Culloden Hotel, Belfast How to enter: Online: Download an entry form from our website: By Tel: 028 90783235 By Email: CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES: FRIDAY 28TH FEBRUARY Why Enter? This is a prime opportunity to generate positive PR, to raise your company profile within the grocery sector, to boost staff morale, to target potential customers and to network with key clients who will be in attendance at the Gala Ball. All entries will also benefit from editorial coverage in Ulster Grocer magazine and online at

Gala Ball

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Fri 9th May 2014 For all the latest news! Follow us on Twitter@ulstergrocer­#ugmarketingawards

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This month, trade people speaks to Sandra Weir, Regional Buying Manager for Fresh Foods for Tesco in Northern Ireland.


Can you give me an outline of your personal background and how you came to be involved with Tesco? I’ve been working with Tesco since it was established in Northern Ireland in 1997, having worked for 15 years with Stewarts Supermarkets prior to that. I started in admin with Stewarts in the Newtownards office, working in the beers, wines and spirits section. By the time Tesco came into Northern Ireland, I had moved to the head office to an admin role supporting the buyer. I eventually had the opportunity to progress to become a buyer and I learned the ropes on the job, with the support of my manager, so it was a gradual transition into the role and the responsibility. What do you enjoy most about your career? I really enjoy when a potential new supplier comes in to meet me for the first time. We have recently seen some really hard-working Northern Ireland companies achieving a listing in Tesco. For many, this is their first real step into the big time, from perhaps only producing small volumes in a kitchen at home and selling at local markets and fairs. Seeing our suppliers (whether new or existing) achieving dramatic sales increases is the most rewarding part of my job – it means we have got it right because the customers like the product – and everyone’s hard work has paid off. WHAT frustrates you most about your working life? The volume of work can be a challenge at times. When I’m not in meetings with suppliers, I do a lot of work on figures. Sometimes, the paperwork and planning can be mind-boggling! I must work out the best mix of products within a range and promotions for a period, which might be 12 weeks away. I also need carefully to combine the plans coming out of our UK head office with my work around locally sourced products. We always try to maximise the potential for local companies in the full range. For example, coming up to Christmas, we have been long in the planning with the likes of TS Foods in Castlewellan, which makes a superb range of fresh stuffing – this is their biggest opportunity of the year so we must get it right. It’s also a big time of year for Mash Direct with products like their local goose

fat Roast Potatoes and for Fivemiletown Creamery which is launching a festive cheeseboard this year. Planning and numbers are key to the success of all of these products. How has Tesco been affected by the economic downturn? We invest a lot of resource in ensuring we are tuned into and anticipating the mood of the nation. We recognise the pressure that households feel under these days, that’s why we offer entry price point products with our very popular Everyday Value range. The Tesco Price Promise also ensures customers won’t pay more for their branded, own-label or fresh products than they would at two of our competitors. We’ll even give a customer a voucher for the difference if we’re more expensive. Tesco responds to customer needs, and because we work very hard to do that, we are trading well in Northern Ireland. How does Tesco differ from the other Multiples in Northern Ireland? A key aspect of Tesco that I’m very proud of is that we take our responsibility as the market leader very seriously when it comes to our impact on the local agri-food industry. This is why campaigns like the ongoing Taste Northern Ireland campaign and our recent Switch to Local initiative are so important. We encourage customers to buy local products and support great local companies and in doing so, to secure the jobs they provide. We are proud to be able to use our scale for the good of the local agri-food industry. What are your plans going forward at Tesco? I will continue working as hard as possible to ensure that our customers can buy excellent

local products. I also want to ensure that companies not listed with Tesco in Northern Ireland know that our door is always open to have a chat and to explore whether/how we might develop a commercial relationship – and I will be placing more emphasis on this over the coming months. How do you see the local grocery sector changing over the next few years? We’re seeing increased trade in the convenience sector, a reflection of the current times where shoppers pop out to “top-up”, and this is a challenge that we need to meet head on. We’re also seeing increased demand for services such as, Tesco Direct, and “Click and Collect” – all of which make shopping easier as customers become busier. Provenance is of increasing importance to consumers and this is an ongoing focus for us. The introduction of Primacy Meats butchers’ counters to five Tesco stores, and Kettyle Meats and Molloys Fish counter to our Enniskillen store are two more examples of how we’re responding to shoppers’ interest in excellent local food, prepared and presented by experts. What has been your greatest achievement to date? My most recent project was a switch over to local production of our own-label sausages, both the Tesco Finest range, which is made by Downpatrick firm Finnebrogue and our fresh meat counter and Tesco Butcher’s Choice ranges, which are now made locally by Doherty & Gray in Ballymena. What’s great is knowing that Tesco can support local companies and the local farmers who supply them. It’s very rewarding to be able to make projects like this happen. 61

Ulster Grocer Nov/Dec 2013